W.T.O. Dismissal Motion Rejected in BetonSports Case

18 July 2008

Magistrate Judge Mary Ann L. Medler on Friday issued a long-awaited recommendation in the BetonSports case, which saw a motion to dismiss the case, based on the United States' violation of a World Trade Organization treaty, denied.

Filed initially in January 2007 by nine of 11 defendants, including David Carruthers, the motion sought to dismiss the entire indictment based on the outcome of the five-year dispute Antigua and Barbuda fought against the United States' prohibitive gambling laws.

After several decisions and appeals, a W.T.O. panel ruled that American laws against Internet gambling violated international trade laws and ordered the United States to bring its laws into compliance.

The defendants argued that based on these rulings, their prosecution was also a violation of the treaty.

However, Judge Medler, of Federal District Court in St. Louis, Mo., ruled against the defendants' request on grounds that the General Agreement on Trade in Services does not create or guarantee individual rights and does not directly impact domestic law.

The defendants have 11 days to file a response to Judge Medler's recommendation, after which District Judge Carol E. Jackson will issue a final decision on the motion.

Gary S. Kaplan, the founder of BetonSports who was captured in March 2007, and Penelope Tucker, a former employee of the company, filed the same motion in August 2007.

IGN's Take

On the level of perception, it's not hard to understand why the industry is losing interest in this case; after all, on the W.T.O. motion alone, Judge Medler's recommendation was issued a year and a half after it was filed.

With rulings pending on other of Mr. Kaplan's motions, we believe the trial is still quite a ways off. Should the case reach the trial phase, however, the result certainly has the potential to set a new precedent for Internet gambling law in the United States.

-Christopher A. Krafcik, Editor, IGamingNews

Click here to view Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Concerning Motions to Dismiss the Superseding Indictment as a Violation of United States Treaty Obligations.

Emily Swoboda is the senior staff writer at IGamingNews. She lives in St. Louis, Mo.